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Hornsby Girls High School

Hornsby Girls High School

Excellence in Girls' Education

Telephone02 9476 5711



Course Information

The English Faculty aims to instill a love of literature in all students.

The English teachers at HGHS are committed to addressing the cognitive, social and emotional needs of all students. For that reason we are active in all areas of school life. We believe that English should not only concern itself with the development of skills in reading, writing, listening, viewing and speaking, but should also equip young people with the skills they need in order to articulate and reflect upon their concerns, their fears, their beliefs and their position in the world. We believe that English is vitally concerned with the development of the individual and accordingly we have designed challenging programs for our students. The faculty has a Gifted and Talented Policy which shapes both our junior and senior teaching and learning programs.

Our Literature Program aims to provide students with a range of different circumstances, situations and characters so that the girls can vicariously experience these things, as well as test their own responses, ideas and theories. We endeavour to ensure that this Program encourages the analytical, and realistic, examination of society's claims and practices. As well as developing students' critical faculties, our aim is to provide an ethical dimension to the learning experience. Through the study of literature students come to understand human behaviour in terms of the ideas people have about good and evil, morality and immorality. It is through literature that students learn how particular individuals in particular situations, confronted with conflicting duties and obligations, respond to those situations. It helps the student to develop her own moral code.

To facilitate this imaginative insight into social and political life, and hopefully bring about higher levels of self-knowledge, we offer a co-ordinated and structured Shakespeare Program throughout the school. Some of the most probing explorations of ethical questions are to be found in Shakespeare's plays. Students in all years are required to undertake formal study of Shakespeare's plays. We run a Shakespeare in Performance Competition throughout the school. It is compulsory for all students in Years 7 - 10. The English Faculty also runs an annual Creative Writing Competition which is compulsory for all students in Years 7 - 10. The Competition is generously sponsored by The Old Girls Union who present prizes for the best entries.

A Creative Writers group has been established and meets once a week for students to share ideas and give feedback to each other on their writing.  They are encouraged to enter outside competitions such as Somerset Novella – Poetry awards.

Students also participate in the Australian Schools English Competition.

We have a structured Poetry Program. It is in Poetry that language reaches its most sophisticated and sublime form, and all students will be exposed to some of the greatest exponents of this form.   Students are also encouraged to write their own poetry and the school enjoys much success in various poetry competitions such as the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards.  Year 7 participate in a Poet in Residence program where a practicing poet runs workshops with each class.

Outstanding examples of student work are published annually in our magazine, "Burning Bright". Please see the 2023 Edition of Burning Bright

The faculty's programs have an underpinning rationale that it is our responsibility to ensure that all students become proficient in using language for specific purposes. Thus we maintain a specific focus on literacy, identifying students with particular needs. Intervention is offered by the classroom teacher often in conjunction with our Literacy Coordinator. In some situations where a special need is particularly evident, students may enjoy extra lessons with the Literacy Coordinator.

All teaching and learning programs reflect the new stage 4, 5 and 6 English syllabuses with their emphasis on how meaning is created in and through texts.

Subjects Studied

We offer Advanced and Extension courses in Year 11 and in Year 12. Hornsby Girls High School English teachers have been actively involved in running courses for teachers and students in other schools and The English Teachers Association, sitting on committees and designing and writing new programs for both the Preliminary Year and the HSC. The faculty is also fortunate in having several HSC markers and senior HSC markers amongst their ranks.

Drama is offered as an elective subject from Year 9 onwards. Drama provides an avenue for self-expression, creativity and the boosting of self-esteem. With this in mind, the course has been designed to include improvisation, group scripting, performance and video making as well as the acting of established plays.